Solid Quarter

Blood Jet Poetry Series in New Orleans, weekly poetry and music as well as open mic performances

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Tree Removal

We had to remove a giant Hackberry tree from our backyard today, and it's Dave's birthday. What a strange gift. The trunk was infested with borer beetles, and apparently while the tree is quite hard, any damage can quickly rot the inside. The trunk, especially at the base, was almost hollowed out and extensively rotten. It took a crew an entire day to hack away at the tree taking it down. I watched from our back bedroom window, and it was like watching a death.

This is a picture where you can see the Hackberry growing over the back of our falling down garage, post-K. The sad thing is our garage still looks like that only flatter on the roof as Hurricane Gustav dropped a huge limb from the Hackberry on it. Now you can see straight over our garage roof to the house. It's a huge vacant spot where that giant tree stood.
It's sad to think that we took this out of the picture and left in its place a small pile of wood chips and a rotten stump. I keep thinking it was our responsibility to take care of the tree and that we can plant a new tree, but it's strange to be in charge of removing something that has been around longer than you. We saved two huge slices from a healthy, thick limb for the kids. That tree stood in eight feet of water for three weeks after the federal flooding of New Orleans. I think that's when the infestation started, the toxic water probably weakened the trunk. Five years out and things are still falling victim to the storm's carnage.
In other good news though, New Orleans now has a new mayor. They said it would take five years for New Orleans to recover from the storm and here we are. Hopefully, the next five years turn a corner on lingering problems and fallout from Pre-Katrina and Post-Katrina days. And the oil spill grows and pushes its way to shore...
I felt like this portion of this Whitman poem watching our tree shrink to just a bare, naked trunk as the day went by.

From Song of the Redwood-Tree:

"But in my soul I plainly heard.



Murmuring out of its myriad leaves,

Down from its lofty top, rising two hundred feet high,

Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs—out of its foot-thick bark,

That chant of the seasons and time—chant, not of the past only, but the future."
I wonder if the birds and squirrels notice the vacancy. Where something once was is now empty space. The air has to expand to feel/feed the place where the tree sat for so many decades, and now the sun's rays fall in a different pattern across our backyard.
Whitman loved his trees, from Specimen Days:
Aug. 4, 6 P. M.—Lights and shades and rare effects on tree-foliage and grass—transparent greens, grays, &c., all in sunset pomp and dazzle. The clear beams are now thrown in many new places, on the quilted, seam’d, bronze-drab, lower tree-trunks, shadow’d except at this hour—now flooding their young and old columnar ruggedness with strong light, unfolding to my sense new amazing features of silent, shaggy charm, the solid bark, the expression of harmless impassiveness, with many a bulge and gnarl unreck’d before. In the revealings of such light, such exceptional hour, such mood, one does not wonder at the old story fables, (indeed, why fables?) of people falling into love-sickness with trees,

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